|Ida Marie Hansen & Lauritz Svendsen (changed to Swanson|
at Ellis Island). This is where the story begins!
In 1892, Ida Marie Hansen left the island of Langeland in Denmark and set out for the US leaving behind a portion of her large family- including sisters and brothers. Ida Marie Hansen was my great-grandmother on my dad's side and upon arrival in Omaha, she met my great-grandfather, also from Denmark. Ida Marie and Laurence (his first name was change at Ellis Island too) had many children, including my grandfather, Merrill. That is a common story, really- Scandinavian immigrants settle in the Midwest and buy a farm- they ended up in Western Iowa- and have many children. To me, the remarkable part is that someone in the family managed to continue communicating with the family left in Denmark- now for almost 120 years! I think this is where my deep love for Garrison Keillor and "A Prairie Home Companion" comes from- he is Norwegian, from Minnesota, and Lutheran- while my family is Danish, from Iowa, and Presbyterian...hilariously parallel!
We're not totally sure who did all this letter writing but we are sure glad they did! Fast forward to the 1970s and that's when the visiting really began- 80 years after the original immigration and long after both of my great-grandparents were dead. My parents took my grandparents to visit Denmark in 1977 and that's where we saw the extent of the connections- there are a lot of relatives on both sides! The Danish side came over to visit the farm in Iowa and now with the ease of international travel, Facebook, and email, we are all able to see each other with relative frequency.
|Frode is holding the cutting board made by my grandpa, |
Merril in the 1970s. Everyone in the family has one!
So, now the connections continue down the generations and Frode & Ida's (far right in the picture) children and grandchildren have been to visit us many times and we have been to visit them a few times too- this is who I stayed with on my last two visits. I know this all sounds very confusing, but I just wanted to provide a little context to this. Basically, I just think it is really cool and not very common that families with immigration more than 100 years ago still manage to keep in touch- although now, with modern communication methods, it sure is a lot easier to stay in touch!
|Bent, Lisbeth, Me, Nina Camilla, and Selma, the lab.|
We visited Kronborg Palace- which is where Hamlet is set.
We had a great visit with lots of laughs and plenty of Carlsberg beer since Lisbeth works there and gets two large crates free every month! I was really lucky that for most of the trip there was sun- I actually even got sunburned while I was there! This was my first trip to Denmark outside of the summer and so I was nervous what the weather would entail- although after living in rainy, rainy England for 9 months, I shouldn't have been that worried. I am not sure I will ever get over Colorado sun in my whole life- no matter where I live, the weather will always suck compared to Colorado!
Now for some pictures from the trip! Everyone had to work on the weekdays I was there but we packed a lot into the weekend.
|View of the fjord from my cousins' house in Roskilde- about 25 |
minutes by train from Copenhagen.
|Took a tour of the Carlsberg Brewery, where Lisbeth works.|
They still deliver beer around Copenhagen with horse-drawn carriages.
|Some of the horses at Carlsberg.|
They were standing in a medicinal foot treatment and were enormous.
|Carlsberg also owns Tuborg and this really reminded me of India so |
I had to sit in it. When we rode in a bike rickshaw in India, the driver groaned
from the weight of my friend Lisa and me- that was great for the old self-esteem!
One of the coolest parts about visiting Roskilde, where my cousins live, is that in the fjord there were many Viking ships found sunken in the water. So, they were brought up and reconstructed and Roskilde has a huge Viking Ship Museum and an outdoor center where they build modern versions based on the old designs. It is pretty amazing to think that the Vikings sailed to Canada in a wooden boat! CRAZY!
|This large ship was reconstructed and actually sailed to Ireland by a group of |
|This is the large ship from above actually on its way to Ireland.|
Now imagine sailing in this all the way to NewFoundland. No thank you.
|Viking boats of all sizes have been reconstructed to sail around the fjord.|
This was such a beautiful day that I think half the population of the town was outside eating ice cream!
|Lisbeth, me, and Nina Camilla at Frederiksborg Castle outside of Copenhagen.|
A huge portion was restored with money from Carlsberg so we got free entry- why do beer companies give so many better perks than schools? No fair!!
|The castle is from the mid-1500s. So beautiful!|
|Felix went too. He REALLY likes castles.|
|Taking my turn as the Queen of Denmark. Not likely I am going to find out that I am related to Danish royalty as pretty much everyone in my family was a farmer for hundreds and hundreds of years!|
|An elevator for the king! So cool! It was a trap door in the floor!|
|The main hall inside the castle. Gorgeous!|
|This Lego sculpture was taller than me and SUPER cool!|
|Nyhavn (New Harbor) is one of the famous sights of Copenhagen.|
Apparently it used to be a swarthy sailor area in the past!
|The Queen's house in Copenhagen. |
You can walk right up to it, unlike at Buckingham Palace.
I'll post the rest of the pictures of Facebook since blogger has decided that I am done posting pictures! Now, I wait three more days and my parents come! I am so excited to see them! We've got a great trip planned and I think we'll have a great time- and a little stress as I will be driving the rental car on the wrong side of the road!!